People´s personal data are being processed every second – at work, in their relations with public authorities, in the health field, when they buy goods or services, travel or surf the Internet.

Individuals are generally unfamiliar with the risks related to the protection of their personal data and of their rights in this respect. They are seldom aware of what they can do if they consider that their rights have been breached, or of the role of national data protection agencies.

In 2006 the Council of Europe launched a Data Protection Day to be celebrated each year on 28 January, the date on which the Council of Europe’s data protection convention, known as “Convention 108”, was opened to signature. Data Protection Day is now celebrated globally and is called Privacy Day outside Europe.

On this date, governments, parliaments, national data protection bodies and other actors carry out activities to raise awareness about the rights to personal data protection and privacy. These may include campaigns targeting the general public, educational projects for teachers and students, open doors at data protection agencies and conferences.

The data protection convention, which is the only international treaty in this field, is being updated to ensure that its data protection principles are still in line with today’s needs.

2018 Edition 2018 Edition
Council of Europe Strasbourg 26 January 2018
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Data Protection Day

On 28 January the Council of Europe will celebrate the Data Protection Day, which marks the opening for signature in 1981 of the Council of Europe’s data protection convention, “Convention 108”.

More than 50 countries around the world have already signed up to the convention, which sets out key principles in the area of personal data protection and is the only international treaty in this field.

The convention has been ratified by the 47 Council of Europe member states and Mauritius, Senegal, Uruguay and Tunisia. Other countries such as Argentina, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Mexico and Morocco have been invited to accede. Many more participate as Observers States in the work of the Committee of the Convention (Australia, Canada, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, New-Zealand, United States of America).

“Convention 108” is currently being updated to address that challenges for privacy resulting from the use of new information and communication technologies, to strengthen its follow-up mechanism, and to ensure it is compatible with various normative frameworks around the world, including the EU legal framework.

Panel discussion

On 25 January, the Council of Europe organised a panel discussion at the Brussels 2018 Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) conference, on the potential of the convention to become a global standard and on its convergence with the EU data protection framework.

Additional information on Data Protection Day

Modernisation process

Session Session

Video of the panel organised by the Council of Europe “Convention 108: convergence and expansion” at the 11th Edition of the “Computers, Privacy and Data Protection” international conference (CDPC) [January 2018]

Guide Guide

Rights of Internet Users

The Council of Europe has created a guide for Internet users to help them better understand their human rights online and what they can do when these rights are challenged.

Generally, these rights are set out in the terms of service of Internet companies, which are mostly lengthy legal contractual conditions which are seldom read and even more seldom fully understood.

Handbook Handbook

Handbook on European data protection law

The aim of this handbook is to raise awareness and improve knowledge of data protection rules in European Union and Council of Europe member states by serving as the main point of reference to which readers can turn.

It is designed for non-specialist legal professionals, judges, national data protection authorities and other persons working in the field of data protection. (more...)

Beyond Beyond

This short film highlights the dangers posed by those who wish to illegally obtain private data.